clear long-stem wine glass. high tea in the cotswolds

Where To Enjoy Afternoon High Tea in the Cotswolds (2023)

One of the most quintessentially British experiences you can have is indulging in an afternoon high tea in the Cotswolds.

This time-honored tradition dates back to the 19th century when the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Russell, would find herself feeling peckish in the late afternoon. To satisfy her cravings, she would order a selection of tea, sandwiches, and cakes to her room, and thus, the tradition of afternoon tea was born.

The Cotswolds is home to a plethora of places where you can enjoy this delightful experience. From quaint tea rooms and bakeries to luxury country houses, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets.

Indulge in classic high tea in the Cotswolds, with menus featuring finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of cakes and pastries. Or, for a more luxurious experience, treat yourself to champagne afternoon tea or a spa afternoon tea package.

Key Takeaways

  • Afternoon tea is a quintessentially British tradition that dates back to the 19th century.
  • There are many places where you can enjoy a high tea in the Cotswolds from quaint tea rooms and bakeries to luxury country houses.
  • Indulge in classic afternoon tea menus or treat yourself to a more luxurious experience with champagne afternoon tea or a spa afternoon tea package.

The Tradition of Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea, also known as cream tea or high tea, is a quintessential British tradition that has been around since the 19th century. It is a light meal comprising a pot of tea, sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and cakes or pastries.

The tradition of afternoon tea began in the upper-class society as a way to stave off hunger between lunch and dinner and quickly became popular across all classes.

The tea is usually served in a teapot with milk and sugar on the side. The sandwiches are typically made with thinly sliced bread and filled with ingredients such as cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon, or ham and mustard. Scones are a type of sweet bread that is often served with clotted cream and jam.

According to English tea etiquette, it is customary for the host to pour the tea and leave the teapot on the table with the spout, facing the person who poured.

When drinking tea at a table, it is proper etiquette to lift the tea cup, leaving the saucer on the table, and to place the cup back on the saucer between sips. It is considered impolite to look away from the cup while sipping tea and to avoid slurping.

It is inappropriate to dunk biscuits in tea when in polite company and to use tea to wash down food.

When it comes to cakes and pastries, there is a plenty to choose from, including fruit scones, Victoria sponge cake, and chocolate eclairs.

Overall, afternoon tea is not just about the food, but also about the experience and a chance to slow down and enjoy the company of friends or family while sipping tea and indulging in sweet and savory treats.

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Best Places for Afternoon High Tea in the Cotswolds

If you’re looking for the perfect spot for a quintessential British afternoon high tea in the Cotswolds, there are plenty of options. Here are some of the best places to enjoy a cup of tea and sweet treats:

Huffkins – With several locations throughout the Cotswolds, Huffkins is a popular choice for afternoon tea. Their tea menu includes a selection of classic and fruit teas, and their food menu offers a variety of sandwiches, scones, and cakes. You can enjoy your tea in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, with many locations featuring silver cake stands and traditional decor.

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa – This luxurious hotel in Chippenham offers a traditional afternoon tea experience in their elegant drawing room. You can choose from a selection of teas, including their own blend, and enjoy a variety of sandwiches, scones, and pastries. The hotel’s beautiful grounds and grand manor house make for a stunning backdrop to your tea.

Tisanes Tea Rooms – Tucked away in a 17th-century Cotswold stone building on Lower High Street in Broadway, Tisanes Tearoom is a cozy and welcoming establishment where customers can relax and enjoy delicious treats. Their menu includes a variety of teas, sandwiches, scones, and homemade preserves, jellies, curds, jams, chutneys, and fudge.

The Lygon Arms – This historic hotel in Broadway has been serving afternoon tea for over 100 years. You can enjoy your tea in their charming lounge or outside in their beautiful courtyard. Their menu includes a variety of teas, sandwiches, scones, and pastries, and you can even add a glass of champagne for a special treat.

Dormy House – This hotel in Broadway offers a modern take on the classic afternoon tea. You can choose from a selection of teas, including their own blend, and enjoy a variety of savory and sweet treats, including sandwiches, scones, and cakes. Their stylish and contemporary dining room provides a unique setting for your tea.

Classic Afternoon Tea Menu

If you’re looking for a traditional and indulgent high tea in the Cotswolds, you won’t be disappointed. Most places that offer afternoon tea will serve up a classic menu that includes a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of dainty patisserie.

The finger sandwiches usually consist of classic fillings such as smoked salmon, cheese and pickle, and cucumber with cream cheese. The scones are typically served warm and are accompanied by a generous dollop of clotted cream and a pot of strawberry jam.

Besides the sandwiches and scones, you can expect to enjoy a selection of cakes and pastries. These can range from classic Victoria sponge to more elaborate creations, such as macarons and éclairs.

Of course, no afternoon tea would be complete without a pot of tea or coffee. Most places will offer a variety of tea blends to choose from, including traditional black teas, herbal infusions, and fruit teas. If you’re feeling indulgent, you can also opt for a glass of Champagne or Prosecco to accompany your afternoon tea.

Overall, a classic afternoon tea in the Cotswolds is an indulgent and quintessentially English experience that is not to be missed. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a treat, you will find a venue that will serve up a delicious and memorable afternoon tea.

Luxury Afternoon Tea Experiences

If you’re looking for a luxurious afternoon tea experience in the Cotswolds, you’re in luck. There are plenty of options available, from elegant hotels to charming tearooms. Here are some of the best places to enjoy a lavish afternoon tea in the Cotswolds.

One of the most popular luxury hotels for afternoon tea is The Painswick Hotel. This elegant hotel is in a beautiful Georgian mansion and offers a stunning setting for your tea. You can enjoy your tea in the hotel’s stylish lounge or out in the beautiful gardens.

The menu includes a selection of sandwiches, scones, and cakes, as well as a choice of tea or coffee. You can also add a glass of champagne or sparkling wine to make your experience even more special.

Another great option for a luxury afternoon tea is Barnsley House. This beautiful hotel is set in a stunning country estate and offers a range of different tea experiences. You can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in the hotel’s elegant lounge, or opt for a more informal tea in the garden.

The menu includes a selection of sandwiches, scones, and cakes, as well as a choice of tea or coffee.

If you’re looking for something truly special, why not try the Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa? This stunning Palladian mansion is set in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside and offers a range of luxurious tea experiences.

You can enjoy your tea in the hotel’s beautiful orangery, or out on the terrace overlooking the gardens. The menu includes a selection of sandwiches, scones, and cakes, as well as a choice of tea or coffee. You can also add a glass of champagne or sparkling wine to make your experience even more special.

No matter where you choose to enjoy your luxury afternoon high tea in the Cotswolds, you will have a memorable experience. So why not treat yourself to a little bit of indulgence and enjoy a delicious lunch with a glass of bubbly?

Quaint Tea Rooms and Bakeries

The Cotswolds is famous for its quaint tea rooms and bakeries. Whether you’re looking for a traditional English tea experience or some delicious baked goods, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.

Here are some of the best tea rooms and bakeries to visit in the Cotswolds:

Huffkins

Huffkins is a family-run bakery and tea room that has been serving afternoon high tea in the Cotswolds since 1890. They are famous for their freshly baked bread, cakes, and pastries. Their tea room is the perfect place to enjoy a traditional English afternoon tea, complete with scones, clotted cream, and jam.

Whatley Manor

Whatley Manor is a luxury hotel located in the heart of the Cotswolds. They have a beautiful tea room that serves up some of the best afternoon tea in the area. Their menu includes a selection of finger sandwiches, scones, cakes, and pastries, all made with locally sourced ingredients.

Tisanes Tea Rooms

Tisanes Tea Rooms is a charming tea room in the heart of the Cotswolds. They serve up a selection of loose leaf teas, as well as a range of homemade cakes and pastries. Their menu includes everything from traditional scones to more unusual treats like lavender shortbread.

The Kitchen at The Tea Chest

The Kitchen at The Tea Chest is a cozy tearoom that serves up some of the best homemade cakes and pastries in the Cotswolds. Their menu includes a range of sweet and savory treats, as well as a selection of loose leaf teas.

Lavender Bakehouse

Lavender Bakehouse is a family-run bakery that specializes in artisan bread, cakes, and pastries. Their tea room is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake. They also offer a range of baking classes for those who want to learn how to bake like a pro.

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Sweet and Savory Delights

Afternoon high tea in the Cotswolds is not just about the tea, it’s also about the delicious sweet and savory treats that come with it. You can expect to indulge in a variety of delights that will leave your taste buds buzzing with excitement.

Savory treats are an important part of the afternoon tea experience in the Cotswolds. You can expect to enjoy a range of sandwiches, quiches, and other savory items.

The sandwiches are usually cut into dainty bite-sized pieces and filled with a variety of ingredients, such as smoked salmon, cucumber, cream cheese, and egg mayonnaise. The quiches are usually made with a buttery crust and filled with a creamy mixture of cheese, vegetables, and herbs.

Of course, no afternoon tea is complete without an array of sweet treats. You can expect to enjoy a variety of cakes, pastries, and sweet treats. Some of the most popular sweet treats include macaroons, scones with clotted cream and jam, and miniature cakes.

The scones are usually served warm and are accompanied by a generous dollop of clotted cream and a pot of jam. The miniature cakes come in a variety of flavors, such as chocolate, lemon, and raspberry.

If you have a sweet tooth, you will be pleased to know that many afternoon tea venues in the Cotswolds have a pastry chef on hand to create delicious treats for you. These pastry chefs use only the finest ingredients to create delectable treats that are sure to satisfy your sweet cravings.

Overall, the sweet and savory delights that come with afternoon tea in the Cotswolds are truly something to behold. Whether you are a fan of savories or sweets, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So sit back, relax, and indulge in the delicious treats that the Cotswolds has to offer.

Sweet And Savory Guide

SavorySweet
Cucumber sandwichesScones with jam and clotted cream
Mini quichesPetit fours*
Sausage rollsMiniature cakes
Cheese strawsMacarons
Deviled eggs*Lemon bars
Smoked salmon canapesShortbread cookies
Chicken salad sandwichesChocolate truffles
Miniature savory tartsFruit tarts
Finger sandwichesTea cakes and buns
* Deviled eggs are hard boiled eggs where the yolk is mixed with mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Petit fours are delicate little cakes sometimes topped with marzipan.

Afternoon Tea and Travel

When you’re traveling through the Cotswolds, taking a break for afternoon tea is a must-do activity. With so many charming and historic towns to explore, it’s easy to work up an appetite while wandering through the streets of Cheltenham, Broadway, Stow-on-the-Wold, Stroud, Cirencester, Malmesbury, Woodstock, Burford, and more.

Many hotels and cafes in the area offer afternoon tea service, often in a drawing room or other cozy setting. Some of the best places to enjoy this quintessentially English tradition include Lucknam Park, The Painswick Hotel, Barnsley House, Lords of the Manor, Cotswold House, The Lygon Arms, and Charingworth Manor.

If you’re looking for a particularly grand setting, consider visiting Blenheim Palace, a grand manor house that sits on the banks of the River Thames near Woodstock and where Sir Winston Churchill was born. The palace’s Orangery serves a sumptuous afternoon tea with views of the palace gardens.

For a more laid-back experience, head to the charming village of Upper Slaughter and stop in at The Old Mill for a traditional cream tea. Or, visit the picturesque town of Chipping Campden and indulge in afternoon tea at The Noel Arms Hotel.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most luxurious places to have afternoon tea in the Cotswolds?

The Cotswolds is home to many luxurious establishments that offer afternoon tea. Some of the most popular ones include Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham, which offers a traditional afternoon tea in a stunning setting. Another option is Whatley Manor in Malmesbury, which offers a decadent afternoon tea featuring homemade scones and finger sandwiches.

Which establishment serves the best afternoon high tea in the Cotswolds?

The Lygon Arms in Broadway is often mentioned as one of the best places for afternoon tea in the area and other popular options include The Pump Room in Bath and The Slaughters Manor House in Lower Slaughter.

What are the best places to have cream tea in the Cotswolds?

If you’re looking for a cream tea experience in the Cotswolds, you might want to check out The Old Bakery Tearoom in Stow-on-the-Wold. Their cream tea includes homemade scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam. Another option is The Tea Set in Chipping Norton, which offers a selection of teas and homemade cakes.

Are there any recommended places for afternoon tea in Bourton-on-the-Water?

Yes, there are several great places to have afternoon tea in Bourton-on-the-Water. The Chestnut Tree Tearooms is a popular choice, offering a selection of homemade cakes and scones. Another option is The Dial House which offers a traditional afternoon tea with a selection of finger sandwiches and pastries.

Which establishments offer afternoon tea in Stow-on-the-Wold?

Stow-on-the-Wold is home to several establishments that offer afternoon tea. Some of the most popular ones include The Old Bakery Tearoom, which offers a selection of homemade cakes and scones, and The Stowaway which offers a traditional afternoon tea with a selection of finger sandwiches and pastries.

Enchantment Awaits
Enchantment Awaits

The Cotswolds region is home to many charming villages and towns, churches, historic landmarks, outdoor activities, in a beautiful part of England. After visiting the region many times, we created the TravelCotswolds.com website dedicated to helping others plan their own trips to the Cotswolds.

If you love cheese, then read all about our take on this in Cheese, Glorious Cotswolds Local Cheese! (2023)

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